“The holy place of Banaras invokes a world of heavenly feelings and thoughts. Coming straight from the laps of Holy Ganga, Banaras is vastly known for its religious characteristics, divine surroundings, aesthetic values along with seamless assimilation of the western culture in its veins. The Ghats of Banaras at the Ganga river play the pivotal role in shaping the characteristic of Banaras”
– IIPian Vishwas Sunita Shrivastava
It might have skipped many minds but Banaras or Kashi is also known for its multicultural touch. From the devotees of Shiva to the devotees of other religions, every culture has taken an important place in countless hearts, one aspect that can’t be ignored in this part of the world.
The Ghats of Banaras speak out everything that can capture your attention and pull you within with an invisible sweet force towards it. Such is its magnetic power to enthrall your senses! The Ghats grandly showcase the inhibitions of the day-to-day living of the residents, the spirituality of the devotees like Aghoris, the Sadhus, followers and their families. A potpourri of interesting characters that mingle with the heart and soul of this riveting place on earth.
Dashashwamedh being the main ghat is famously known for its famous Ganga Pujan followed by a string of soothing Bhajans following afterward. One can also take a look at Manikarnika, the cremation area where people burn their deceased and flow them out in the divine waters of Ganga. Later the remains become the main feeds of Aghoris. Banaras also presents various other Ghats such as Assi Ghat, Narad Ghat, Ganga Ghat and many others. With around 88 in total, every ghat has their important roles and values.
They also have a lot of temples built on the Ghats where the religious bells never stop, even for a second. Many of the old temples have been destroyed way back in the 12th century during the tenure of the Muslim King Mohammad Ghauri. The current temples and in Kashi date back to the 18th century and more.
“Soon, The work on the ambitious project to restore the glory of the Kashi Vishwanath complex has begun under the current regime. People will soon be able to learn about the 60 ancient temples discovered recently in the area.”
This confluence of faith, temples, people and their religious practices lend a typical scent to Banaras. This adds to its mysticism and attracts tourists irrespective of their beliefs, region, caste, creed, sex and color. BANARAS or KASHI or VARANASI, Truely… a divine world.
Photo story by a student of Indian Institute of Photography, IIPian Vishwas Sunita Shrivastava taken during his studies as a project. IIPian Vishwas is now working as Creative Director with a leading Gems and Jewellery brand.